Taipei City mayoral rivals trade accusations
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-07-05 04:40 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Opposition Taipei City mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je on Saturday questioned the credibility of the reconciliation between Kuomintang candidate Sean Lien and his former rival within the ruling party, legislator Ting Shou-chung.

On Friday, Ting appeared at an event with Lien and said he was campaigning on his behalf. In the run-up to the selection of the official KMT candidate, Ting had strong words, condemning Lien for his links to wealthy and influential politicians and business people, while presenting himself as the candidate of the common man.

The fact that the two former rivals now shook hands could not be interpreted as a sign that all was well within the KMT, Ko told reporters Saturday. Integrating two camps was about more than shaking hands and shouting slogans, it was about bringing policy stances and teams together, Ko said.

The outspoken surgeon quoted his own experiences as an example, saying he had integrated the opinions of his primary rival, Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Yao Wen-chih, about moving Songshan Airport and about developing the right bank of the Tamshui River, and he had also adapted his education policies during a visit to the Taiwan Solidarity Union.

Ko recently announced that he would serve as his own campaign manager in order to allow more fluid cooperation between his aides, who hail from different parties and even different opposition factions.

Lien countered Ko’s doubts about his relationship with Ting by questioning the opposition’s bid to form a broad opposition alliance. Ko was first a “deep green” supporter, meaning a radical follower of Taiwan Independence and of the DPP, but was now trying to reach out to “deep blues” or KMT and People First Party supporters, Lien said. The sudden change might cause serious psychological problems, the KMT candidate reportedly said.

Ko refused to join the DPP because he believed it would harm his prospects of setting up the opposition alliance to unseat the KMT, which has ruled the capital for 16 years.

Lien met with KMT Taipei City councilors Saturday in the latest effort to rally support with what some media have interpreted as a flagging campaign. Earlier in the week, a poll in the Chinese-language Liberty Times put his support about 20 percent behind Ko’s. The publication of the survey was reportedly a factor in a decision by former Vice President Lien Chan, candidate Lien’s father, to call a meeting of influential KMT members and supporters in an effort to revive his campaign. The event backfired however, provoking allegations that the younger Lien was not his own man and needed to rely on his father’s expansive political and business connections.

Ko’s wife, Peggy Chen, on Saturday rebutted magazine allegations that she had taken over the financial management of her husband’s campaign after funding irregularities. She said she had only helped the campaign once, and denied any violations of campaign spending laws.

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